Skinwalkers

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Witches are active primarily at night, roaming about at great speed in skins of wolf, coyote and other animals (bear, owl, desert fox, crow). This is one bit of witchcraft lore with which even the youngest Navajo is familiar. Indeed, yenalyosi and ma?icoh ("wolf") I have found to be the most common colloquial terms for "witch."
Witches are tracked, normally the morning after an incident when dirt falling in from the hogan smokehole, unusually loud barkings of the dogs or "strange" noises or other occurrences have made the dwellers in a hogan feel that a Witch has been there. The tracks of were-animals are usually spoken of as larger than those of the actual animals. Sometimes the trail is followed a long distance, only to end at the home of some Navajo. In other cases the Witch is caught and often recognized as a clan or real sibling. The trapped Witch tries to buy freedom with beads or other jewelry, but these are refused with horror. Sometimes the Witch is shot at night and at such a distance that recognition is impossible. Then some Navajo (often at a distant spot) turns up with an unexplained wound. Pgs. 26-27

Navajo Witchcraft; Clyde Kluckhohn, 1944

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